The Kansas House of Representatives are voting this afternoon on House Resolution 1605 (HRC-1605) that challenges the constitutionality of the Kansas Lottery’s contract with Peninsula Gaming, LLC, to build and manage a casino near Mulvane, south of Wichita, in Sumner County. HRC-1605 also seeks to challenge the constitutionality of a provision that restricts public officials from “certain interactions in gaming matters.” Ground has already broken on Kansas Star Casino, which is expected to open in Spring 2012 and is forecasted to be fully built-out by 2016. Dubuque, Iowa, based Peninsula Gaming, LLC, was selected in December, 2010, by the Kansas Lottery Gaming Facility Review Board over Ada, Oklahoma, based Global Gaming, LLC, to build a casino in Kansas’ South Central zone. That decision was upheld January 14th, 2011, by the Kansas Gaming and Racing Commission and Governor Brownback had already included Peninsula Gaming’s $25 million dollar development fee in his recent budget recommendations.
Beginning on page 445 of the March 9, 2011, Daily House Journal shows the resolution in its entirety and specifies the statute in question being challenged, K.S.A 2010 Supp. 74-8762(e). Statute 74-8762(e) regards “restrictions on state and local officials and affiliated persons; penalties” associated with Article 87 – State Lottery law. Section (e) states “no state or local official shall influence, or attempt to influence, by use of official authority, the decision of the Kansas lottery commission, lottery gaming facility review board or Kansas racing and gaming commission pursuant to this act; the investigation of a proposal for a lottery gaming facility or racetrack gaming facility pursuant to this act; or any proceeding to enforce the provisions of this act or rules and regulations of the Kansas lottery commission or Kansas racing and gaming commission. Any such attempt shall be reported promptly to the attorney general.” Section (f) states that “willful violation of this section is a class A misdemeanor.” Language in the resolution, originating out of the Committee on Federal and State Affairs, resurrects past issues opponents of the contract have had regarding the misdemeanor legal troubles of parent company Peninsula Gaming Partners, LLC,’s Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer, have had in Iowa and planning and zoning issues regarding city of Mulvane annexation of property on which Kansas Star Casino is being built. In December the Kansas Supreme Court elected not to review a lower court’s decision to uphold the property’s annexation.
Kansas Star Casino is being built at a cost of $260 million dollars, is projected to create 1,000 jobs, and will contribute 22% of revenues to the state of Kansas.